The bill seeking to amend the Malawi Constitution in order to include a provision for holding of run-off elections has failed to get Parliament’s approval.
The Constitution Amendment Bill required 128 votes (two thirds majority) to pass but 109 Members of Parliament (MPs) voted yes while 71 rejected it.
The bill was tabled in Parliament following the Constitutional Court’s interpretation of Section 80 (2) of the Malawi Constitution which states that: “The President shall be elected by a majority of the electorate through direct, universal and equal suffrage.”
According to the court, the term majority of electorate in the section means that an elected president should amass at least 50 percent plus one vote of the of the total votes cast.
The bill that was tabled was intended to support the new meaning of the section by including Section 80A to provide for a run-off election in the event that a majority is not obtained by any presidential candidate.
The bill further set Tuesday in the third week of May as the date for fresh elections following the nullification of the 2019 presidential elections by the Constitutional Court.
It also set a date in 2025 for the next General Election and set a new date for dissolution of Parliament.
On 3 February, the Constitutional Court nullified the 2019 presidential elections and ordered that fresh elections be held in five months.
The court also ordered Parliament to make appropriate provisions for the holding of run-off elections in case no single candidate gets majority of votes.